I love the Lord, who has heard my voice,
And listened to my supplication..
Yesterday in worship we heard the story of Thomas, the disciple who has come to be known as “Doubting Thomas.” As you may recall, Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them on that first Easter Sunday evening, and his questions about Jesus being raised have earned him some scorn.
But many have come to understand that questions—and even doubt—are natural parts of life and faith. We have questions about God, about the Bible, about the Church … and we sometimes may feel that to ask them shows a lack of faith or trust. So we don’t ask.
I believe our questions and our wonderings are opportunities to seek, to learn, and to grow. The Church should be a place where the people of God can ask questions and wrestle with the answers together as we seek to grow as disciples. The world is complex, and talking about how our belief in Jesus Christ intersects with it can be a wonderful way to deepen our faith.
On Sunday, 30 April we will have an opportunity to ask, seek, and wonder together! Yesterday in worship, slips of paper were available for people to write question about God, the faith, the Church, etc. on and place in the offering plate. I will be looking at the questions and answering them (as best I can) during the sermon time on 30 April.
If you did not have the opportunity to write down a question yesterday, please know there will be another chance this Sunday!
Please join us after 10:30 worship on Sunday April 30 to dedicate the Grace Blessing Box located near the exit driveway of the parking lot. This is a passive community outreach endeavor to help others who may find themselves in a situation where food or other offerings might be needed on short notice. The Blessing Box will have some food items, some clothing items, (hats, socks, etc.) and some inspirational or resource information available. We will gather around for a short blessing before attending fellowship time.
Highlights from April Council meeting:
- Grace Council and the Outreach Ministry have expressed interest in hosting a seminary student from Serbia this summer and have had some conversations with the Slovak Zion Synod of the ELCA about this. If anyone would be willing to host a student for 6 weeks or 12 weeks, please let Pastor Brenda know.
- We are still collecting money to help pay for the security cameras. We are $845 short. Target date for installation is mid-May.
- Blood drive scheduled April 19, 2023. Openings are available.
- Rummage sale is scheduled the end of April. Donations are still being collected.
- Down payment has been made for our handicap ramp. We do not have a start date scheduled yet.
- Offerings are down. Any extra giving will be greatly appreciated.
- Grace will be meeting with Jewish Federation April 27 to discuss ideas for furnishing free meals to the public.
- We will be having a weather drill and fire drill at both services sometime in the next three months.
Thursday May 4th – National Day of Prayer
Behind the scenes at Grace…..by Gretchen
- Summer is here at least as far as the temperatures this last week. Another sign is some hugeamongous ant hills between the cracks of the sidewalk!
- The Bradford Pear Trees in the outside chapel are loaded with white blossoms.
- Don’t forget to bring your “unwanted treasures” for the rummage sale! Then don’t forget to shop at the Preview Sale on Thursday April 27th and the Sale on Saturday April 29th!
- Remember: Grace is not the ant hills but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission!
Operation Christmas Child
In the month of April we are asking for donations of washcloths. They can be dropped off in the Giving Grace Room or to the office during the week.
Editor… Proofreader Needed?
- Brother Lamar has gone on to be the Lord.
- The Reverend Merriweather spoke briefly, much to the delight of the congregation.
- The power went out at St. Mary’s during Father Jim’s sermon last week, causing Mass confusion.
- “Welcome, visitors!” the church bulletin read. “If you are visiting us today and not afflicted with another church, please fill out the attached card, and our pastor will call on you.
- Let us bow our heads in prayer for the many who are sick of our church and community.
- A songfest will be hell at the Methodist Church Wednesday.
- There will be a rummage sale next Saturday. Ladies, please leave your clothes in the basement.
- We need volunteers for summer camp. There will be sinning and dancing.
And then, there’s this…..
Volunteer Opportunities: Come work for the Lord, the work may be hard, the hours may be long, and the pay low or none, but with certainty, the eternal retirement benefits are OUT OF THIS WORLD.
Sunday Fellowship Time
April 26th- Barb, Beth, and David Charvat
April 30th – Debbie Downs and Grace Peterson
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
There are so many important numbers! License number, phone number, Social Security numbers, passwords to everything but one of the most important and impactful is ……
Did you guess? Yep, it is your Blood Pressure. It makes all those other numbers not so important if your Blood Pressure numbers are off.
Gretchen will be checking Blood Pressure between services in Room 3 on Sunday May 7th and 28th. If you would like to have yours checked in between or at another time just let her know.
Severe Weather and Tornados!
Spring has sprung and so has the possibility of severe weather. In fact, the Weather Channel was saying this last week that we are seeing severe weather earlier than normal as we have already had numerous tornadoes in the United States.
It has been a whole 8 months since we had to remember what all the weather levels are.
Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Conditions are right for a thunderstorm to form. Be alert as a Severe Watch can quickly change to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning: A severe thunderstorm is present.
- Remain inside the building.
- Move away from glass doors, windows and skylights (skylights are in main hallway outside of the big church) to the interior of a room. This includes the chapel. If there are windows on both sides of the room move to an area where there is no glass such as a hallway (away from skylights).
- Do not use phone landlines and/or plumbing (dishwasher, running faucets, and/or toilet) during the storm as the lines can be conductors of electricity and cause electrocution.
- Remain inside the building for 30 minutes after you last heard thunder (Per National Weather Service).
- Be alert as severe weather can quickly develop tornadoes.
Tornado Watch: Conditions are right for the development of a tornado.
- Follow procedure for Severe Thunderstorm Warning.
Tornado Warning: A tornado is present.
- Move as quickly as possible to rooms without windows, for example:
- Basement across from the office. A flashlight is located to the left when entering the basement
- Basement of the Chapel. A flashlight is located inside the door on the left
- Hallway away from skylights
- Giving Grace Room /bathroom in this room
- Men and women’s bathrooms located in hallway in the back of the big church
- Hallway from the office back to Brenner Hallway
- Men and women’s bathrooms next to Brenner Hallway
- Brenner Hall storage room
- Help those needing assistance, using wheelchairs as needed. Wheelchairs are located in the back of the church, the sacristy, coatroom by the office, and in the library.
- If unable to move take shelter under tables, pews.
- Protect your head with personal items and/or hymnal.
- Remain in sheltered area until Tornado Warning has been cancelled and for 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder.
- If the location is dangerous – smell gas, fire, falling debris then move as soon as possible away from building.
- If the building has been damaged do not try to go inside until authorities have declared it safe.
At Grace we have designated safe areas – do you know where they are?
I would strongly encourage everyone to be aware of where they should go in a severe weather event!
A Severe Weather Drill will be held on a Sunday within the next 6 weeks .
Saturday April 22 is Earth Day !
What are you doing to preserve the planet? Recycle compost, use washable water bottles instead of plastic throwaways,
don’t buy more than you can eat or share with friend or neighbor – the small things we can do are endless!
Thank you so much to everyone who supported our Jeff Erdmann Pasta Dinner. We are so thankful for the people who donated food, silent auction items, supplies from Thrivent, money and their valuable time.
Thank you to the Youth Committee who continue to support us throughout the years and helped set up tables, cook and serve food, brought in items for the auction, helped clean up and much more. Thank you to the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity who helped serve, wash dishes, play music and clean up.
Thank you to everyone who attended and bid on our auction items. The money we raised is going to help our youth on their mission trip this summer. We are going to do yard work, meet with Miss Linda, work in a soup kitchen, and work in a food pantry. A small portion was donated to the Bethany House which was the philanthropy for UT’s Songfest this year.
Jeff Erdmann loved this event and we loved him. Thank you again for supporting the youth from Grace, Memorial and Providence.
Meditation on Luke 24:13-35
By Vicar Dave
Not that long ago, Joyce and I were driving out in the country. As we passed a farmer’s fields, I commented on how everything appeared to be greening up nicely. Then, when we drove past another, I noticed how it was still baren looking, as though nothing would grow there. Of course, I know that things will eventually grow in that field. Something grows there every spring. But as with everything else, it happens in its own good time. Nature has its own rhythm and things happen when they happen. As winter fades and transitions into spring, my yard goes from a brown and black look to becoming greener everyday as life returns to soil. I always love seeing the first crocuses as they start to force their way up through the dirt. I often worry if they’re coming up too early and will be killed by a late cold snap, but I love to see them and the color they bring to my yard. Then, almost without fail, every year come the daffodils, and then the tulips and so on. Each in their own time.
Think about the birds that migrate South every winter. As they are starting to make their way back to the Great Lakes regions, we will begin to see a greater and greater variety of them. We’ll go from the dull, brownish birds that tend to stay here over winter, to the brilliantly contrasting black and white Canadian Geese. Soon, we’ll be seeing the Great Blue Herons and even the brightly colored ducks. (I saw a pair of them in my yard the other day!) On Holy Saturday, while going into the Church for something, Joyce and I had a Blue Jay yelling at me to get out of the way so he could get at the nuts that Cathy had left out for the squirrels and on Easter Sunday I spotted a bright red Cardinal in my back yard. We also saw some Gold Finches out at my in-laws place the other day. I suspect that we’ll be seeing more and more of the brightly colored birds as spring slowly makes its way to summer.
A lot of human activity is dependent on the rhythms of nature as well. Growing up on the Great Lakes, we always knew that when winter was in control, the freighters stopped delivering their goods to the markets where they are sold. Then, as the ice breaks up in Lake Huron and flowed down into the St. Clair River, it would cause these massive ice jams. Nothing could get through at that time. Maybe, to someone unfamiliar with how things worked up there, they may have thought that the river would never melt and flow again. But those of us who’d been through this a few times, knew it was only a matter of time before we’d see the steel giants plowing the water again.
Easter brings a lot of these thoughts to my mind as I think about the disciples and how they feared that they had lost Jesus forever. I can understand this. It’s hard for us to comprehend the grand design of life which God has ordained. The ebb and flow of the seasons. How winter, when the entire world seems to be asleep, eventually gives way to spring. And how death must eventually give way to life. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were having a hard time understanding this as they despaired over the death of Jesus, not understanding how his death was essential if he was to rise from new life, providing salvation for us all. It’s easy for us now to look back and ask how they couldn’t see it, after all, it was all there, right in front of them. But we’ve got more than 2,000 years of testimony and teaching to lean on.
As you go about your Easter season, I hope you’ll reflect on how God makes things happen in His time and not ours, be patient and wait for the inevitable life that God has waiting for us.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
The Worship and Music Committee would like to thank everyone who participated and assisted in any way at our special Lenten services. This includes our Wednesday services, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday services. We also thank those that participated and assisted with our Sunday services during Lent. And a great big thank you to Pastor Brenda for all of her work and inspiration in making the Lenten Season and Easter meaningful to so many members and visitors.
Food collection continues at Grace for Food for Toledo. Donations can be dropped off on Mondays from 9 – noon or placed in the Food for Toledo bins in the Giving Room across from Room 3. Items needed include cereal, canned meats, pasta, pasta sauce, canned vegetables and fruit, peanut butter, jelly, etc. Next week the total for food collected during Lent will be announced.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!